The humour and empathy behind Pampers’ cinema ad effectiveness

The nappy brand’s ‘Poonami’ campaign is November’s most effective cinema ad, according to Kantar’s The Works study.

Cinema audiences are typically highly engaged given the nature of the medium, but that double-edged sword means brands need to be especially creative to stand out.

According to the latest edition of The Works, in which analysts at Kantar measure the effectiveness of ads across different mediums, one brand in particular stood out in cinema ads in November: Pampers.

Produced in association with Marketing Week and the Advertising Association’s Trust Working Group, the study asks 750 consumers to provide thoughts and feedback on the top cinema ads over the period.

The Pampers ‘Poonami’ campaign is humour-led, tackling the taboo of nappy-changing to highlight the need for baby products that don’t let parents down. As an extension of the ‘Poo face’ campaign which appeared in 2015, the Poonami cinema ad features an instance of where nappies fail – a situation familiar to many parents.

As Lynne Deason, Kantar’s head of creative excellence for the UK, explains: “This lean-in moment of resonance delivered in a way that makes people laugh, means the ad grabs and retains attention – and is more memorable too.”

According to the Kantar study, Poonami lands in the top 2% of all UK ads for humour and the top 2% for enjoyment. 43% of people also reported enjoying the ad ‘a lot’, more than double the average ad in the UK (19%).

Humour and music

Crucially for Pampers, the ad manages to turn that humour into positive consideration of the brand. Respondents to the survey stated that the message conveyed was that Pampers’ products were more reliable than those of its competitors.

Branding ranks in the top 37% of UK ads, “supported by brand cues, a strong fit with existing perceptions and, to a slightly lesser extent, the brand being central to what’s memorable about the ad”. Respondents also found the information conveyed about the brand to be ‘highly credible’ (top 2%), ‘relevant’ (top 3%) and ‘new’ (top 14%).

As a result, it leads to a strong persuasion score. The ad ranks in the top 14% of all UK ads, encouraging and priming consumers to choose the brand in the short term.

Deason explains: “Poonami is an incredibly effective cinema ad. It’s a truly fantastic showcase of how you can bring to life superior product performance in a way that connects emotively, memorably and credibly with the audience.

“Powered by a ‘baby truth’ that is instantly meaningful and brought to life through funny, entertaining and distinctive storytelling that is easy to understand.”

Deason also highlights the role of the music in the ad, noting that the use of generic ‘high noon showdown’ music conjures instant association with the idea of standoff which is integral to the conceit of the ad.

She adds: “The music shapes how we interpret the close-up shots of the changing facial reactions that we see. Poonami shows that you don’t have to use a famous track for the music in an ad to be enjoyable and contribute in a significant way to advertising effectiveness.”